Northwestern Oklahoma State University released the 2017 fall enrollment report and the numbers are down from last year.
Northwestern had up to 2,200 students enrolled last year and the numbers slipped down to 2,095 students. That is 5 percent of the student population gone after just one year of school. With new student visa policies in effect, this left Northwestern with a shortage of international students. Officials at Northwestern reported that nearly 100 international students have left.
The Alva main campus suffered a drop of more than 7 percent bringing the numbers to 1,343 students. While other Northwestern campuses, such as Woodward, kept their numbers as they were last year and Enid lost 19 students.
Steven Valencia, Associate Vice President of University Relations, said there is always room for improvement when it comes to bringing the numbers back up. In the press release it read, “We have identified some new geographical areas where interest is high.” These areas with high interest are in Texas, Oklahoma Panhandle and Southeastern Colorado, Valencia said.
“Students in these areas are from a culture similar like Northwestern and that is where we stand the best chance of getting them to come here,” Valencia said. Locating students that are comfortable with the Alva atmosphere and most of Northwestern may sound tough, but it is easy when students grow up in environments like this one.
Enrollment in males has also dropped for Northwestern. “It may just be the uprising of the economy opening up more jobs for men to go into,” Valencia said. According to US News, the Alva campus is made up of more women than men. Even though the men have a couple densely populated athletic teams.
The athletic teams seem to recruit an excessive amount of talent to come to Northwestern and it is not to help with enrollment. “Coaches know their teams,” Valencia said, “it is not so much about enrollment for them, it is about having the right balance of athlete numbers for years to come.” This makes sense due to the fact problems may occur over the season where student-athletes may leave.
Northwestern reached a three-year high in enrollment just a year ago, so this drop in numbers could just be a coincidence. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center in spring 2017, enrollment decreased by 1.5 percent from a year ago in 2016. Four-year public universities like Northwestern saw a slight increase by 0.2 percent.
So, what about retention rate? Retention is about experience and having people to enjoy an experience with. “It starts with the teachers, working with students and making sure they get the best out of their education,” Valencia said. The goal is to finish all four years and earn that degree, but when a student is not getting the full experience they want to go elsewhere.
Northwestern does their best to retain students. Creating a special, loving and fun atmosphere is where it begins to keep students here.